reviewed by Lisa
Sue Monk Kidd's debut novel about Lily Owen's journey to discover her history and to find love, could be a very difficult read with theme's of hatred, abuse and racism. But Kidd has found a way, through a blend of an unusual story line and unique characters, to make this a story about love, hope and discovery. When Lily leaves home after running away from her abusive father and breaking her pseudo-mother, Rosaleen, out of jail, she travels to Tiburon SC to try to learn more about her mother who died when Lily was four--possibly killed by Lily herself. There Rosaleen and Lily come to the home of an eccentric trio of beekeeping sisters who quickly become their family. I read this book in a couple of days and would recommend it to book clubs.

NY Times Bestseller
NFO Book club selection

Type: Fiction, 336 pages, Trade paperback

Fourteen-year-old Lily Owens lost her beloved mother when she was only four—under tragic circumstances clouded by time and secrecy. She later found a fiercely protective "stand-in," her abusive father's outspoken housekeeper, Rosaleen. Ignoring differences in age and color—and the fact that racial hatred seethed during the summer of 1964 in rural South Carolina—these two unlikely companions set off on a seemingly aimless pilgrimage that ends at the home of a trio of eccentric bee-keeping black sisters.

Lily tells her remarkable tale of longing and love in an idiom and accent heard far south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but the lessons learned during her odyssey into the world of bees and their "secret life" are universal and everlasting.

In her debut novel, Sue Monk Kidd proves herself adept both at storytelling and at creating characters who are simultaneously outlandish and credible—in other words, worthy to join the ranks of such first-rate Southern stylists as Kaye Gibbons, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Ellen Gilchrist.


"Maybe it's true that there are no perfect books, but I closed this one believing that I had found perfection." - Book Magazine
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